Josie Tejada’s collection of short fiction and essays are a unique contribution towards exploring the as-yet unilluminated area we call the Filipino Soul. It includes an introduction by Aida Rivera-Ford.
Josie’s use of Ilonggo lends a regional ambiance to the already unique Filipino taste of the parochial worlds she paints with her words. Mention of the proverbial Ilonggo “lightning” brings a smile. The period piece entitled “The Magician” elicits a slight melancholy one associates with memories of childhood innocence swept away by the passage of time. There is also the exquisitely painful story of anticipating a friend’s death in “Lunch with Victoria” that reminds us of our, and our friends’, mortality.
From Rosa’s quietly emotional typhoon while looking for her father in the title story, on through “Tales from the Lap,” local folk tales as seen and heard from a child’s perspective of tamawo in “The Maid’s Daughter,” and finally to her eulogic essays on her parents and a sister, one cannot help but identify with emotions bared and experienced. Indeed, it is easy for one to come out of the book with the conclusion that the author is all the protagonists she has created in her fiction, and that she finally admits it through her essays at the end of this slim volume of works.
It is, all in all, a truly delightful book to read in this age of computers and a public media that is out of control.